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Thread: Questions for INFJ's

  1. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riva View Post
    If someone offends you how do you deal with it? I mean before doorslamming that person. And assume that it's a friendship with considerable time investments.
    This is super hard to answer, Riva, because I very rarely see something as ‘offensive’ in any objective sense. There are things that I recognize as being offensive to me- and I usually feel like it isn’t my place to impose that value on anyone else who doesn't already share it, so I just distance myself. I have to be really close to someone to feel like they’d probably prefer I impose my value than distance them.

    And really, I have run into problems with this because when I do bring it up I’m probably not as direct as people need me to be. It *feels* like I’m being direct; e.g. I might say, “I take issue with _____.” I’m starting to think people actually need me to say “I find ____ offensive.” To me, not only is that the same thing- but saying it like that is actually offensive in its own way. It’s asserting that something is ‘objectively’ offensive. There are extremely few things I believe to be ‘objectively’ offensive- and calling something which I recognize might only be offensive to me ‘objectively’ offensive is treating someone like they are stupid/impressionable enough to swallow it whole.

    So in short: I will let someone know I have a problem with something if I get the feeling they would rather know than have me distance them. But if they aren’t especially close to me (and I get the feeling they’d just as soon I distance them than give them some ‘rule’ to adhere to which they likely won’t understand), then I just distance them instead.

    eta: I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "friendship with considerable time investment"- because that doesn't necessarily mean there's a close bond. There are many people with whom I've been friends for a long time, but I don't feel especially close to.
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  2. #132
    came back haunted Array EJCC's Avatar
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    Finally getting back to all you folks... TBH, I was intimidated by the length, depth, and quantity of the replies. So, apologies for the delay!
    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    In a perfect world, I wouldn't be a petty, selfish prick and doing the right/kind thing would always make me feel good. IOW, I want so much to think of myself as a good person, etc that accepting that I feel so strongly about such a small thing is pretty mortifying. I tend to keep hoping it will go away and feel ashamed when it does not. It'd be like admitting you're physically attracted to Donald Trump. Of course you don't want anyone to know that about you.
    I was almost mortified when I read this post. I thought INFJs were usually great at interpreting their feelings as valid and as signs of things that need to change? My reaction is probably just Fi vs. Fe -- I can't imagine having such a detached and unforgiving attitude towards your own preferences. (Well maybe I can, but not in the same way.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    As for your second question, about "in a perfect world no one would ever know your feelings on the subject", um, have you seen my blog? In my perfect world, I would immediately know my own feelings on the subject, and I would be sure to convey them in a responsible and respectful manner. There might be a lot of compromise, but very little sacrifice.
    Well to be fair, even on your blog, you are extremely even-handed, in a way that recalls the friend I was asking about. That is, even-handed in a way that sometimes makes me wonder whether that's your true opinion on a particular subject. So I should have been more specific, and said "your feelings on the potentially controversial interpersonal subject", or something along those lines.

    That makes sense, though. So a lot of it has to do with processing time? (Ni, I guess?)
    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    When I'm around other people I start to internalize their feelings and perspectives as well as mine and view all of it almost like a disembodied entity. I'm not grounded in my own psyche or ego the way most other people are. In this way I'm not making some great sacrifice for the "Greater Good", but it even seems irrational to me to over-value my own feelings or perspectives when I'm just another person like everyone else. I've taken it too far in my own life though as a result of being around people with greater needs and stronger feelings and ideas than myself. At this point I actually go blank when in a group and asked what I desire, and I just give over to consensus. If it isn't something I can tolerate then sometimes I'll end up quietly leaving.
    Is it wrong that I sometimes see this as unfair? The INFJs I know will often do this as well, and it sometimes comes across as denying everyone else the right to work with you and ensure that you're happy/included.

    Is there a way to work with INFJs in these situations, and work your way into their (usually internal) decision-making process, without pissing them off or making them feel bad?
    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I have a very deep desire to connect with a few people and be seen and understood. It is extremely difficult for me to venture out to describe a feeling on a subject because I fear it won't be understood. I end up having strong feelings of longing towards people I think might understand me, and a nurturing, but personally distanced feeling to other people (of course there are degrees of both). Being heard might mean almost everything to me, but because I spend so much time observing and analyzing the ideas and assumptions of other people, I almost never expect to be heard even if I speak. I find it conserves energy immensely to not often share my preferences and feelings, but it would be ideal to be able to do this.
    That makes sense. I think I have INTJ friends and acquaintances with the same issue. (Ni problems...) I suppose it's just a matter of surrounding yourself with folks who speak the same language -- obviously much easier said than done.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenfairy View Post
    I do let my feelings be known, but I feel I have little concept of how to appropriately do this when there is a strong disagreement between what I want and what is popular and appropriate. If it's just a small preference I can just bring up a different idea to people or do my own thing separate from the group and it'll be fine. But if I am afraid I'll actually cause an uproar I get all resentful and just say how I feel anyway and feel like I'm being immature; either that or I wait until later and ask someone else what they think I should do (like your friend did). I dunno. I usually end up being afraid out of proportion to the situation, and people still like me even if I think I'm being immature. This is part of what I call social paranoia- part being afraid people are going to stop liking me, and part projecting group judgment onto other people. Discovering that this is out of proportion to reality has helped me be more (properly) assertive over the years and comfortable in relationships.
    This makes sense. I have INFJ friends who have said similar things to me and I've replied with "I literally cannot imagine a situation in which anything you said would be that controversial. You are far too diplomatic for that." And of course, they act like they have this evidence that I don't have, and that yes, people really DO get that angry with them when they express their feelings. Then again, like I said earlier in the thread, there's no way for me to know how much they're exaggerating.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    Sorry I took so long to get back to this.

    The terms "harmony" and "Greater Good" bother me. They imply a nobleness of purpose, or a selflessness that I, personally, don't always feel. It's nice to rationalize it that way, but it's not always true.

    I would rather say that I tend to adjust myself, or defer, in order that things run more smoothly in relationships (with relationships being between myself and one or more people). I suspect that how I define smoothly may differ from how other INFJs define it, due to different early experiences. I really don't mind conflict as a means to resolving a problem, but I do mind ongoing, unresolved, contentious conflict because that describes my parents' marriage, and I've seen the consequences of that firsthand. That's why I'm a big advocate for honestly talking things out and reaching some sort of resolution, if possible.

    I've had a difficult time finding a way to answer this briefly for you. It's just not a cut and dried "this is essentially why I do that" type of situation for me. The whys behind the behavior are varied. If you're looking for a more depersonalized answer, I can only offer speculation. Perhaps I'm more sensitive to certain signals that are present in interpersonal relationships. Perhaps I've learned to interpret those signals based on the very early relationships formed in my family and community when I was, essentially, a powerless child. Perhaps I then identify with being powerless unless I learn otherwise. Keep in mind that other people aren't as sensitive to the same signals, so perhaps I've also learned that trying to explain what I perceive is difficult. So, I end up creating my own interpretations and projections of behavior based on all of that--an Ni model that can be difficult to adjust once it's in place.

    So, perhaps I sacrifice my feelings because I feel powerless to do otherwise in order to keep the relationship running smoothly. Which is actually a bad Ni-model to use in personal, one-on-one relationships, because then I'm sacrificing instead of compromising and I will eventually resent that and the person I feel made me sacrifice, when in actuality, I'm the person making myself sacrifice. That's why I had to learn to take responsibility, to be accountable, for my own choices. That way I no longer feel powerless and I don't feel the need to blame other people for my own choices.
    Firstly:

    Secondly: I would have described the bolded as harmony-seeking/harmony-focused behavior, but then again, my definition of harmony doesn't involve nobleness of purpose, so you were right about differing definitions.

    Thirdly (woo, lists): Your last paragraph actually reminded me of an interaction that I had with my INFJ mom the other day, when she asked me, essentially, whether I thought it was valid for her to get angry with people for not asking her how particular projects are going. My response (with a teasing nod/wink/laugh -- and also a comforting hug, later) was: "Generally I don't think it's a great idea to expect someone to do something, not tell them you're expecting it, and then get mad at them for not meeting the expectations that they had no idea you had." Then, of course, we talked about what project she was talking about, and I validated her and (metaphorically) patted her on the knee, and made a note to myself to ask her about those particular projects from now on. Nothing I can do about the other folks she was talking about, except hope that my expectations comment was reassuring/constructive, somehow.

    I suppose I also have the same follow-up question for you, as for fia: Is there a way for friends/family to help out with that tendency? To butt into your internal process without threatening your sovereignty (can't think of a non-international-relations-major way to say that )?
    "When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world -- 'No, YOU move.'"
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  3. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by autumnandtherain View Post
    Do you feel like you talk a lot, even if that may not be the case? (For example, I feel like I talk a lot, but most of the time it's just the inner dialogue/thoughts in my head)
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by autumnandtherain View Post
    Do you tend to filter out your "inner world" when getting to know people, because you assume they wouldn't understand it?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by autumnandtherain View Post
    Do your intimates (significant others, close friends, family, etc) get frustrated if you filter out your inner world?
    Yes.

  4. #134
    Senior Member Array cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    I was almost mortified when I read this post. I thought INFJs were usually great at interpreting their feelings as valid and as signs of things that need to change? My reaction is probably just Fi vs. Fe -- I can't imagine having such a detached and unforgiving attitude towards your own preferences. (Well maybe I can, but not in the same way.)
    I see my feelings as being valid in terms of they are real and that they are data that needs to be considered when I'm making a decision. They just aren't more valid than anyone else's feelings under normal circumstances and they are only one piece of information. Other things might outweigh my feelings, which are often transient. And I have mixed feelings about a lot of things and my feelings often conflict with my values.

    So it's possible for me to make the 'right' decision and still really hate it or decide I miscalculated how strongly I felt about something because I also feel strongly about my values.

    Jeesh. What a frigging head trip. The thing I see with myself is that I have an overdeveloped superego and a nomralish id. My ego is underdeveloped, so I often feel like I'm being childish for wanting what I want and that causes me to feel shame (stupid superego) and then I overreact and who knows how I'll untimely end up feeling? That's one thing I often really suck at predicting.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  5. #135
    came back haunted Array EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I see my feelings as being valid in terms of they are real and that they are data that needs to be considered when I'm making a decision. They just aren't more valid than anyone else's feelings under normal circumstances and they are only one piece of information. Other things might outweigh my feelings, which are often transient. And I have mixed feelings about a lot of things and my feelings often conflict with my values.

    So it's possible for me to make the 'right' decision and still really hate it or decide I miscalculated how strongly I felt about something because I also feel strongly about my values.

    ...The thing I see with myself is that I have an overdeveloped superego and a nomralish id. My ego is underdeveloped, so I often feel like I'm being childish for wanting what I want and that causes me to feel shame (stupid superego) and then I overreact and who knows how I'll untimely end up feeling? That's one thing I often really suck at predicting.
    This makes a lot of sense, and helps clarify a lot of little details from other posts on this thread -- details that made sense in theory but that I couldn't relate to. Thank you for your patient replies.

    I wish there was something I could do, in these situations. :/
    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Jeesh. What a frigging head trip.
    ????
    "When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world -- 'No, YOU move.'"
    - Captain America

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    1w2/7w6/3w4 so/sx (enneagram)
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    want to ask me something? go for it!

  6. #136
    darkened dreams Array labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Is it wrong that I sometimes see this as unfair? The INFJs I know will often do this as well, and it sometimes comes across as denying everyone else the right to work with you and ensure that you're happy/included.
    Not wrong, but it indicates a lack of acceptance. At least for me it isn't really a choice, but just a way of being. I'm wondering if you are assuming an internal response similar to what you would feel if you didn't speak up. While I can't speak for all INFJs I have tended to feel a personal responsibility to accept an outcome if I agree to it. I don't blame people for choosing a movie I don't like.

    I will admit to some built up negativity if it is ongoing and the reason I bow out is because everyone else seems demanding, but my tolerance level is higher than average. Most people would become pissed off long before I would for not having a voice. Also, if I start to see a pattern of entitlement or assumption that other people only consider their own needs and actually don't value my needs whether or not I speak up, then I distance myself.

    I will confess to a current situation that has me frustrated. I live with three other people right now who have varying needs. My partner has a stressful job and terrible back problems, so his needs reasonably come first. Our other two housemates are wonderful people, but one has a variety of hyper-needs with many diet demands that are at least somewhat personally chosen (not from a doctor), and who doesn't do nearly as much work as anyone else. I think that objectively my health issues are considerably worse and yet there is rarely consideration given to my diet or amount of work. I feel dismissed about my health, although I don't care as much about movie choices and am okay with accommodating others' diet choices. I was asking myself, how does a person manage to get others to attend to every detail of their needs and not expect them to do any work? I guess you just don't work and you just demand stuff, but that seems antagonistic to me. I think because I operate from a place of empathy, I am most comfortable with boundaries drawn with more perception about others' needs and more offering of help.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Is there a way to work with INFJs in these situations, and work your way into their (usually internal) decision-making process, without pissing them off or making them feel bad?
    I can't formulate a situation where I would get "pissed off" if someone asked for my input. For me it is mostly about efficiency and when there is a group it seems so difficult for people to make decisions, that I don't see the point of adding more complexity. I would say to give them more time, and not expect snap decisions within the context of a group. If you are getting together with friends to watch a movie, give them the task of choosing the movie ahead of time.

    So, give them enough time alone to identify their needs and desires and give them enough time to process choices. That's all I know to say.
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  7. #137
    philosopher wood nymph Array greenfairy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riva View Post
    If someone offends you how do you deal with it? I mean before doorslamming that person. And assume that it's a friendship with considerable time investments.
    I for one usually take some time to think about why I took offense in that particular situation and try to see it objectively to see what is the most reasonable response, and then I bring it up to the person. The main reasons I would have to doorslam someone (and I'm not sure I do this) are if the person seems unwilling to cooperate and negotiate with me and if I catch them lying to me. So I do my best to communicate and solve problems, but I am all the time assessing how much effort I am putting into things versus how much they are putting in, and if it becomes clear that things have become one-sided I think it is time to end things; but I always try to give it a fair chance if I think it is worth having.

    @EJCC: in response to your questions, I think a good strategy is to reassure an INFJ that you believe their feelings are valid even if they don't, and you value them as a friend no matter how they feel; assure them that you are willing to work with them to solve whatever interpersonal problems come up. Asking them how they feel could be problematic if they don't know or think they shouldn't feel that way, but prefacing it with that can help. I think also creating the social situation in such a way that it does not appear that a dissenting opinion will cause conflict would help, but i'm not sure how to do that.

  8. #138
    wants Mifune clone minion Array Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by autumnandtherain View Post
    Do you tend to filter out your "inner world" when getting to know people, because you assume they wouldn't understand it?
    Yes. I generally have to observe people for a while before interacting much with them. And it reminds me a bit of a game of Charades- there are some people who can guess the meaning of what I’m trying to convey more consistently, accurately and quickly than others. And there are some people who regularly miss the mark entirely. I generally pick up on this and dole out my efforts to communicate accordingly. <- Most of that is done on an instinctive/unconscious level. [There's also accounting for reliability/trustworthiness, but I figure that goes without saying.]

    Do your intimates (significant others, close friends, family, etc) get frustrated if you filter out your inner world?
    Definitely. I wouldn’t say it’s an intentional filter, really (not that the question implies intention), it’s just that it’s so mind-numbingly difficult to articulate some things. While I generally only get close to people who have demonstrated a knack for being able to pick up on these things without a lot of explanation, it can still be like trying to squeeze an elephant through the eye of a needle sometimes.

    Also, I’ve said before (and another INFJ around here has made a similar comment) that often times my internal landscape feels something like one of those Magic Eye 3D pictures: I’ll know there’s *something* going on- tugging my sleeve, wanting my attention- but it takes a while for me to figure out what it is. I need to wait for the thing to slide in focus on its own and I’m not really sure there’s a way to hurry that process. [On more than one occasion I’ve had people angry at me that I didn’t “bring something up sooner”….which in turn makes me angry because it isn’t a choice to take so long to figure things out, and I resent being made to feel bad about it when I do the best I can.]
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  9. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    This makes a lot of sense, and helps clarify a lot of little details from other posts on this thread -- details that made sense in theory but that I couldn't relate to. Thank you for your patient replies.

    I wish there was something I could do, in these situations. :/
    Sometimes we get better about it. I told my mom that I didn't want her friend to go on our family movie outing for my mom's birthday. Both of my brothers whom I don't see real often were coming and her friend is very outgoing and it seemed like I wouldn't get to really visit with my brothers much if she went. My mom insisted at first, but then she changed her mind and didn't bring her friend. Then I invited them both over on Christmas when I knew my husband wouldn't be home because he generally hates to have non-family over.

    But the only thing I can think that might help (and I don't believe you are in any way obligated to do it) is to stipulate that you want her do do what she wants to do rather than what she thinks she should want to do and then give her a little time to think about it and one chance to change her mind. That, IMO, is beyond the call of duty. We're big boys and girls and if we don't speak up, it's our own damn fault if we're not happy with the outcome. But it's very thoughtful of you to make an effort.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    ????
    Oh, that's me being frustrated for having such a convoluted mess of a thought process. If it's screwy to me, I know it must be even more so to the people that have to deal with me. I don't envy them.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  10. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by autumnandtherain View Post
    So, I'm an INFJ, but I wanted to get some thoughts from other INFJs and people who are close to INFJs on this one... Hopefully this hasn't already been asked as I haven't gone through the whole thread.

    Do you feel like you talk a lot, even if that may not be the case? (For example, I feel like I talk a lot, but most of the time it's just the inner dialogue/thoughts in my head)

    Do you tend to filter out your "inner world" when getting to know people, because you assume they wouldn't understand it?

    Do your intimates (significant others, close friends, family, etc) get frustrated if you filter out your inner world?
    I don't think this has been asked.

    These don't really apply to me, but when interacting with different sorts of people I just play chameleon and focus on the commonalities until I really know the person.

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